Ahmadinejad: No Israel, U.S. in New Mideast

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the U.S. should not interfere in events taking place in the Middle East.

"If you wish to modify your behavior and have other countries trust you, you must first of all avoid interfering in other countries, including Tunisia and Egypt, and let them make their own decisions," Ahmadinejad said in a speech marking the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Ahmadinejad envisions the Middle East without Israel or any U.S. presence there.

"In spite of all the satanic schemes, with the help of  Allah and the people's resistance, the new Middle East will turn into a region without the United States and the Zionist regime, and the arrogant powers will have no place in this Middle East,"  Ahmadinejad said.

"Soon the entire world will experience the sweet taste of a world without Zionists and thugs," he added.

It's not the first time the diminutive Iranian leader has called for Israel's destruction; he has done so consistently for years.

The demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia have fired up his vision for ridding the region of Western influences and ushering in an age of Islamic domination.

"Egyptians, Tunisians, your uprisings are just and we are with you," he said to crowds chanting "Death to America! Death to Israel!"

Iranian authorities placed opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi under house arrest after he and Mir Hossein Moussavi applied for permits to organize a rally on Feb. 14 in support of the anti-government demonstrators in Egypt.

State Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi turned down the request because of potential "repercussions."

Ahmadinejad's government brutally clamped down on protesters -- some affiliated with Moussavi's Green Movement -- during the 2009 elections, arresting and executing many of them.

Last week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini said the recent protests in the region evidence increasing "Islamic awareness" in the Middle East.

Khomeini blamed "America's control over Egypt's leaders" for the "explosion" in Egypt, calling it the "appropriate response" to crimes committed by the "traitor dictator" against his people.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Iran should focus on the calls for freedom in its own country rather than "hiding behind what is happening in Egypt."

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